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Amadeus

by

Jeff Nelson

For those who haven't seen Amadeus, I highly recommend you rent it as soon as possible.

Amadeus
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Released in 1984, Amadeus received a lot of attention by both critics and moviegoers. It was nominated for more than fifty awards and won eight Academy Awards. However, there are some flicks that don't seem to age as well as others. When I speak about an older movie here, I'm not speaking of visuals being outdated. Some flicks simply aren't as relevant to the current time period and have difficulty appealing to modern audiences. Sometimes what was once found humorous is now seen as tacky. Other times a serious scene in a movie can come across as cheesy and very dated. Sure, a movie can be great for the time it came out but what does that mean for modern audiences? Unfortunately, these are the motion pictures that we remember seeing as children, and even teenagers for others, and once we rematch them now that we're more mature, we remember it being so much better at the time we originally saw it. This occurs quite often when films don't age very well. Amadeus aged just like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music, which is timeless.

Antonio Selieri was a mediocre composer whose churlish young rival, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, wins immortality with his musical genius. Not happy to see his talent eclipsed, Salieri dons a disguise and deviously plots revenge, obsessed with muffling Mozart's maddening laughter. I generally don't pay a lot of attention to some movies that win the Best Picture award at the Oscars due to the fact that the Academy eats up historical films. However, there's so much more placed into Amadeus. This is a character study of envy and jealousy. The screenplay is absolutely marvelous. There's depth around every corner, filled with sub-plots that allows no filler for the film to contain. The story is told from Selieri's perspective, looking back at his life as he's now an old man. The audience witnesses the behavior of the musical legend, Mozart, through Selieri's eyes. All of the characters are so well-shaped that it kept me engrossed from start to finish. There's a lot beneath the surface of both Mozart and Salieri as both men are led to ruin. The dialogue is truly fantastic and really feels as if we're watching this story unfold during the 18th and 19th century. The screenplay certainly deserved its Oscar-win for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The cast is just as phenomenal as the script. The leads are both fantastic. However, even a supporting role, delivered by Elizabeth Berridge as Constanze Mozart is pretty incredible. F. Murray Abraham rightfully won the Academy Award for performing as Antonio Salieri. He's very convincing and does well playing off of the energy given by other actors, as well as his moments where he goes solo. His dialogue is delivered to perfection, just as Tom Hulce playing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He's very accurate playing the immature, yet brilliant composer. Both Hulce and Abraham were in the same category in the Oscar race, which Abraham clearly won. However, both performances are believable to the point where it doesn't feel like we're watching actors. Elizabeth Berridge is great as Mozart's wife. She's a more underrated actress in this film that didn't get as much attention as she deserved. By the time the end of the film rolls around, her delivery is almost heartbreaking as her portrayal of Constanze Mozart feels all too real. Every actor in Amadeus is excellent, however the leads create the magic that has touched audiences around the world.

This isn't an action flick, so don't expect any explosions, chases, or gun fights. However, there are times where it becomes equally as intense. Mozart's music is utilized quite well to create the tension that's in place. Yet another Oscar win goes for the Best Costume Design. The costumes shown here are everything you would imagine they would be and more. The visuals used in Amadeus truly makes this film feel as if Director Milos Forman went back in time to capture what occurred. The time period is beautifully replicated. The audio quality is solid. Every note of music presents itself wonderfully through the speakers. Fans of classical music will be extremely satisfied with the results.

For those who haven't seen Amadeus, I highly recommend you rent it as soon as possible. Place your other movie rentals you're interested in aside and check this out instead. It's near-perfection on every level, from the screenplay to the acting to the visuals. There isn't really anything major to complain about here. Amadeus has aged marvelously as its just as relevant today as it was during its release in 1984. Even those who aren't a fan of classical music will highly enjoy this one. It's a beautifully executed piece of filmmaking that is sure to capture your attention from the moment it starts until the ending credits are rolling. Amadeus is highly recommended, all audiences should check this out as soon as they can.

My Rating = Five Stars

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